Getting a constant and privileged access to God - insights from Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Who would not wish to have come to Swami when He was like this?  Accessible and totally available...
Who would not wish to have come to Swami when He was like this? Accessible and totally available...

“If only I had discovered Swami earlier, I would be so much better.” - A fallacy

It was in my XI grade that I became a student of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School at Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi in the year 1998. Within the first few days itself, I realized the wonderful opportunities the students get when it comes to physical proximity with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (lovingly called as Swami). As I began to enjoy brief stints of physical proximity, one thought always nagged me - why didn't I come to Swami earlier in life?

And that, I discovered, was a constant refrain for many others too. Everybody, irrespective of when they had come to the physical presence of Sai, always wished that they had come earlier and enjoyed much more of Swami. Those that came along with me in the 1990’s wished that they had been there in the 1980’s when Swami spent the maximum time with the students. The 1980’s people felt that they had missed out on the wonderful experiences in the previous decade. Why talk of such late days? Even those that came in the 1950s felt that they had lost interacting with the charming teenager - Sathyanarayana Raju as He showed the world that He is Sathya Sai Baba.

However, the nagging thought vaporized when I got a chance to speak with a very senior alumnus of the Institute. He had been a student from the 80s and had studied for a good number of years in His physical proximity. After that, he had been given a job by Swami in His institutions and he continues to work there even now. That alumnus told me something very startling when I asked him for his experiences with Swami.

“I have nothing to share. Yes, I got a padanamaskar (chance to bow at the feet) here and there and also spoke a few words with Him on a few occasions. But I do not have anything fantastic to narrate or share.”

When I heard that, I realized that it does not matter when one comes to Swami. What one has to receive from Swami on a physical plane is decided by Him. And nobody can change that! So, in reality, it does not matter when I arrived to His physical presence because that was decided perfectly BY HIM. Moreover, coming earlier is no guarantor of greater chances or better chances as well! Nobody can come to Him unless He calls, as a disciple of Swami Sivananda discovered through a thrilling experience!

Within a few years after I came to Swami, the crowds were like this. So, you can empathize when I say that I wish I had come earlier! :)
Within a few years after I came to Swami, the crowds were like this. So, you can empathize when I say that I wish I had come earlier! :) | Source

Access has always been something which is granted

Let us now step on the fast-forward button in the time machine to arrive in the later years of the first decade of the 21st century. Swami had sustained a hip fracture as a result of a fall and had confined Himself completely to a wheelchair. However, He would always be there to grant darshans on a daily basis. He would arrive for darshan in a Porte car which had within it, a portable seat wheelchair. The darshan rounds would be completed in the car after which Swami’s seat would be gently ejected out. He would then be wheeled to the stage where He would sit for the bhajan session.

Though Swami was doing everything ‘physically’ possible to make Himself completely available to the thousands seated, it was obvious that the physical proximity which everyone enjoyed when He used to walk during darshan rounds was gone. And this fact brought on a feeling of increasing distance between Swami and those that sought Him. On one occasion, when Swami called one of the students to the car window to speak to him, the student boldly told Him,

“Swami you have become distant from all of us.”
“I am the same. I have not become distant”, was the reply.
Not to be outdone, the student clarified,
“Swami, previously we all had access to you. But now, you have become so inaccessible. We do not have that kind of access to you.”

Swami’s next statement was simply stunning.

“Nobody ever had access to me. Access was something that was always given. I decide who should get access and when. You may sit right under my nose and I may not even look at you for decades. You may be in the 20th line and yet I may call you. When an avatar comes, it comes with a master plan. Even today, I am always accessible to those who seek me within.”

The student simply nodded and walked back to his place.

This episode is very significant in the current day context. Many of us feel that it would have been good only if we had known Swami earlier and had come to Him earlier. We feel that way because, today, having taken Mahasamadhi, the beautiful form of Swami is apparently not accessible to us. Whenever we get such thoughts, it would do us good to remember Swami’s statement -

Even today, I am always accessible to those who seek me within.

A pointer for us to pine for that access...

For some time, after 2003, darshan used to be only through the window of the Porte car.
For some time, after 2003, darshan used to be only through the window of the Porte car. | Source
"Access is always given." Just when the devotees thought that the car cut away all access, Swami started coming for darshan in the wheel-chair, discarding the car.
"Access is always given." Just when the devotees thought that the car cut away all access, Swami started coming for darshan in the wheel-chair, discarding the car. | Source

Getting that privileged access

It then comes to the question - How do I get that privileged access so that I can contact Swami always?

Swami Himself answers that question in His discourses:

Your heart is a single-seat sofa. It is not a musical chair! Offer the heart to God alone and to none else. God hungers only for your love and if you offer that love to God, He will be yours forever.

But confusing attachment for love, we go on seeking love from the dozens or hundreds of relationships and friendships in the world. Instead of grasping at and depending on earthly ties, if we spend time seeking God in our heart, we will find that access. And that is because, love is God’s only weakness and therefore, our only strength! Swami narrates the story of Draupadi’s humiliation to elaborate this. The story goes this way:

The noble Pandava brothers had been defeated by the vile Kaurava brothers in a rigged game of dice because of which the eldest brother, Yudhishtra, had to relinquish everything he had - including his wife Draupadi. Draupadi is thus considered as a slave and the Kaurava brothers ask the wicked Dushasana to drag her to open court. Then, in everyone’s presence an attempt is made to disrobe her. Not knowing what else to do, Draupadi calls out to her Lord Krishna.

Swami says that when she first begins calling out, there is no response because she calls out to Him as , “Mathuravaasi Krishna” (Krishna, the resident of Mathura), “Dwarkavaasi Krishna” (Krishna, the resident of Dwarka), “Vaikunthavaasi Krishna” (Krishna, the dweller of heavenly Vaikuntha) and so on. Swami says that when she calls thus, Krishna has to travel all the way from Mathura, Dwarka or even Vaikuntha to come to her aid.

As Draupadi gets completely lost in Krishna, she calls out,
“Hrudayavaasi Krishna” (Krishna, the in-dweller of my heart). In an instant, the Lord’s grace pours forth and her sari length is multiplied to infinity. How much ever the vile Dushasana pulls out, the sari seems endless till he gives up in exhaustion!

“When you call out to the Lord in your heart, from your heart, the response is instantaneous.”

And THAT is the way to gain privileged access to God or Swami. Make Him the sole occupant of the single-seat sofa that the heart is and always call out to the ‘Hrudayavaasi’ Lord!

An artist's depiction of Krishna's saving grace on Draupadi

"Hrudayavaasi Krishna" elicits an immediate response from the Lord.  The Lord never fails a devotee!
"Hrudayavaasi Krishna" elicits an immediate response from the Lord. The Lord never fails a devotee!

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© 2013 Aravind Balasubramanya

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Comments 12 comments

Sudha Narayanan 3 years ago

Sairam it is absolutely true He is our Hridayavaasi. He listens to every whisper of ours. I had the chance of doing my first Service to our dear Lord only in 2007 at Ati Rudra Maha Yagnam Chennai. Few days before this, when I was drying clothes in the terrace (it was a very sunny day), I was thinking "If you are there with me, I can stand even in the sun for however long you want!". Just guess, where was my service area in ARMY? Out in the open grounds, outside the tented venue! doing service to my dear Lord all the 10 days under the Hot Sun! I became a fried & dried fish (of course without stink!). After ten days it was parting time and all the while I was expecting to have a good darshan of our Lord. No that was not to be... while going home(we were staying in my aunt's place very near to the venue) I sat in one of the roadside platform - luckily nobody was there & cried full fifteen minutes. I was telling Swami"You say if I take 1 step, you shall take 100 steps, you didn't gv me darshan.This is cheating you didn't gv me gd darshan" with swollen eyes I went home. Next week (feb 2007) all sevadals were asked 2 cum 2 Parthi.We were all sitting with our back to Yajur Mandir. Swami came & after some time, one student was holding His hand & He was walking step by step by the ladies towards the Bhajan Hall & He was looking directly at me! I was such a fat head I didn't understand anything. He didn't give up!! In April 2007 we went to Kodai & on 29th April. I was sitting in the first row just beneath the railings. Swami while going back after darshan, started walking ( I was in tears & telling Him mentally, Swami, pls don't walk it will pain you)& He came & stood before me & gave the most beautiful smile I t was quite a while. Ice cream melted into milkshake & back to elements!! After that He sat in His chair & went away.Bang !then only did I realise that He has answered my prayers "literally". We call Him ocean of compassion, nay even the ocean has limitations. Our Lord, Ahetuka Daya Sindhu He is, has no limitations. He will go to any extent not to foresake us. I feel like going to the mountain top & shouting "With such a Lord on our side, If we place our entire faith on Him, will He ever give us up?" Now also if I go to Tiruvanmayur in that boulevard, I just lose myself in these sweet thoughts. It so mesmerising


Kokila Vaidyanathan 3 years ago

Sairam...what a beautiful article....


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 3 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@saisarannaga - :)

Lovely reading your experience sir... It would be wonderful to also hear about how you came to swami and your experiences... :)


saisarannaga 3 years ago

To day while participating in butter milk service in chennai, i had a casual talk with another devotee. Our talks centered mainly on one topic. "We should have come to Swami earlier" (Though i had the opportunity as early as December 1964, i too told the devotee, "how i wished i should have gone there during 'old mandir' days? Your beautiful hub has opened my eyes and i realize the potential of Swami's promise, "Even today, I am always accessible to those who seek me within". It is an eye opener.


Poornima 3 years ago

As swami says He is the atma and resides in hrydaya! Nice one to remind ourselves often.


Madhavi Alapaty 3 years ago

Thank you for narrating such a beautiful experience and I am sure most of us got answers for the finite question which is on everyone mind who seeks spirituality. I always have such thoughts when i read an article or listen to a devotees experiences 'why was I not fortunate to know HIM' in my earlier life even though i heard about HIM and borned in HIS state. Last week only me and my husband was thinking about this as even though my husband lived in Bangalore for 2 years he was not fortunate enough to know about HIM at that time and he was able to know about HIM only when he came to US. If you think about this, this is true and we know about it but our mind ignores or neglects the fact that we are not fortunate enough to be called by SWAMI at that age and we had to wait until HE wills us to come to HIM. so my prayer always is 'please donot leave me and let me walk with you in this lifetime and make me an instrument in your hands'. I always know that the LORD likes to sit in everyones heart and wants to stay there permanently as long as we will HIM. Sairam.


sai devotee 3 years ago

We could see that no one was satiated with the physical access, it was like chasing infinity..The physical proximity too came as His Will for whom He decided to give. But the feeling of that proximity is beyond any human imagination . Neither could we sleep eat or think of anything else for a few days-after Swami's visit to our institute.


Shruti 3 years ago

Wonderful article....


Sarala Jagannathan 3 years ago

Arvind is attachment to family members and to some people in the world wrong? Can't one love Swami and love them as well?


Padma 3 years ago

Same thought runs thru mu mind always.. Came to know swami only by end of 2010.but it happened by 2011. Felt very very bad of not even hvng tht glimpse of swami's physical form. Convinced myself a lot tht he s in my heart. Even tday when i was hearing live pgms of radiosai i felt only ppl who had darsan of his physical form for long time cam pour out with such miracles. But same night swami has andwered me tht im blind to find him in our hearts.thnx s lot for aravind.


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aravindb1982 3 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@Aarthi - Perfectly right. Swami always answers us. That is why He says, when we need Him, we deserve Him. :) Glad that you got your answers through the post. Once we get our answers, we should enshrine them in our heart and not forget. Forgetting is the mistake that I often fall victim to! :)


Aarthi 3 years ago

Just last night, I had this thought Aravind about why Swami had not allowed events in my life to unfold in such a way that I had been a student in His school or at least the ATP campus. I felt I had missed so many chances. But Swami has given me the answer in your post today -- He decides when we come to Him. :) At all levels.

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